Corey Taylor is not a name that goes unheard, unknown, or, quite frankly, unspoken in the heavy music world. Releasing his second solo record outside the notorious Slipknot – CMF2 – Taylor descended on the capital to prove his worth as an artist as well as a member of an iconic band.
Eventim Apollo, London – 14 November, 2023
Words: Monty Sewell
Photography: Aggie Anthimidou
The Eventim Apollo was cast beneath an intoxicating shadow of lip-gnarled horn bearers as one of the metal’s most beloved conquerers took to the stage. It is a thoroughly packed venue, with the flowing beer and conversation eagerly rife.
Any artist taking that leap from a renowned band with an astronomically large cult following (at that level of popularity, though, does it count as a cult following?) into a solo project will undoubtedly feel the pressures to please their hardcore fans whilst also sticking true to their intended, passion project trajectory.
But Corey Taylor is Corey Taylor. Tonight, the skeptics were pushed – or should I say stage dive thrown – to the side. The metalhead pioneer took a deadpan smile smaller of a show and chucked it in the face of dubiety.
Shaking up his audience, Taylor starts with The Box and blood-thirsty, hefty, stoned riff number Post Traumatic Blues. Both are from the new smashing album. Taylor is entirely in his comfort zone.
I wondered if he was smiling like that every time I saw him in Slipknot. Who knows? But Taylor was having the time of his life, introducing his band with a proud fondness.
Taylor’s original musical outfit, Stone Sour, gets a few shout-outs with songs Turnout, Song #3, 30/30-150, and Through Glass. He reminds us of his roots as he tears around the stage. Guitar in tow, his vocals reigned better than the original recordings, with that hungry grit between each lyric staying true.
From his solo debut CMFT, Black Eyes Blues stands solid as the one track from the album. Tonight, it is all about reveling in the new material. We Are the Rest, Beyond, Talk Sick and Midnight. Each track whips the last to the curb with its ferocity, and even without any wildly conscious onstage fanatics, they are huge in their execution.
It is a cracking album and worth a go for those who couldn’t make the show or have been too pensive to give it a proper listen. It’s great stuff with some severe savagery to it.
The night’s biggest surprise was a thunderous rendition of (I promise you have not guessed it) the SpongeBob SquarePants theme. But I have got to say, I have never enjoyed it more.
There is a roar from the Slipnot-ers as Before I Forget, Snuff, and Duality engulf the audience in a wave of appreciation. Taylor and his band conclude with Black Sabbaths Fairies Wear Boots. What a song to finish on.
Filtering out from the sold-out show, there is that overwhelming, if not exhausted, feeling of a show that gave us its entirety. In return, the crowd went quite literally wild. The screams for Taylor to return sound out through laughter and promises of an after-party. Time to gear up for next year’s festival season with the hopes of having him back over here and back up doing what he does best.